So, what's everyone been doing for the past 130 plus days? Wow, when this started we just thought it was 14 days long...Now there doesn't seem to be an end in site. The good news is we're healthy; I believe my son and I both had this crazy virus back in January before it was known; infact it ran through the school system here - it HAD to be this!
Amongst all of the craziness, everyday I hear of another business shutting its doors; I haven't sat down with my mother since January; i've stopped by to drop groceries and cleaning products, but there have been no hugs since January.
In trying to keep my mind of off this, I've been a little busy; I am so grateful that I still have clients coming to the studio; however, I'm only booking one per day, so I am seeing less clients, but still very grateful for having them, as they help me to keep my business going. I did just start a youtube channel to show off some of my work. Some of my portrait packages include slideshows of the images purchased in the session and that's what I've started to post; just a couple so far, but I hope to grow it; it will just take some time of course.
Also going on, my son started a shortened baseball season, thankfully we are out watching baseball games twice a week and my daughter's dance school was having outdoor classes and they held a recital on the lawn outside the studio with a rented stage. I'm also taking the kids away to LBI for a few days soon; the hubby will stay home and watch our dog and keep an eye on his business, Circle Bowl and Entertainment, as they just opened their doors about 10 days ago for the first time since March.
Last but not least, when I get home with the kids I will post about something else that has been keeping me busy, my new coffee product called Deeva Fuel. I'm working on getting the sale items onto the website for purchase. It's a 12 ounce bag of dark roast ground coffee with chocolate, raspberry and anise. I personally can't really taste the chocolate or raspberry, but my tastebuds feel the richness these delivious ingredients add to your mouth. I've tried many coffees, this one though...Oh Yes, Please! You'll definitely want to try it.
I'll blog again soon. Stay safe, well, sane and healthy everyone! xoxoxo
History in the Making
Where is the time going?
We just finished what I'm calling Q6- Quarantine week 6 of homeschooling. Actually, to be honest, I'm not homeschooling; the teachers have been doing an amazing job with the FID system of schooling through the internet. I'm grateful my children are old enough to be independent learners and don't need much guidance.
My daughter, just turned 13 during this quarantine, is honors and really does a great job with keeping up her grades. My son, 10 will be 11 soon, does will, however, gets a bit unfocused at times and forgets to complete the extras, like music and gym. I'm in no way complaining, this is simply an observation.
While They're 'in school' I'm either photographing food these days or I've been taking care of things like spring cleaning. Have you ever really gutted drawers, files, closets, desks, etc...and have BAGS of stuff to throw away however, it looks like you barely made a dent in the cleaning?? That was me with our extra bedroom; I found artwork that my kids made back in preschool, stuff from old jobs; (I worked in pharmaceuticals for many years before having a family). I have notebooks and binders FILLED with product information and most of it I won't throw out just yet.
What I can't figure out is what to do with our library? I love the idea of having a library of books, however, the only books I really use and browse through are the cookbooks. I've never considered myself a hoarder; I mean, you should see the garbage that piles up on a weekly basis, however, I'm realizing there are things that I just...cant...part...with....
I feel like it's a part of my history..or perhaps I should say..herstory. Right? History is one of the reasons I absolutely love my job; I feel that I get to capture a point and time in a family's story of their life; documenting points on their timeline. It's SO important, isn't it? But now I'm thinking..what do I DO with all of these 'documents'? I have to figure it out.
When we moved into this house, there were some boxes left behind from the previous owners. I must mention, the previous owners were my in laws. They had this beautiful home build in the early 80's and my husband told them randomly that if they ever wanted to sell the house, that he wanted to buy it. So, I think they were so excited at the thought of their grandchildren living in the home they'd built that they up and moved near my sister in law/ their daughter. They had left behind a big box of children's books in the attic; I guess thinking perhaps we'd use them. We did pull a few down but the content was really outdated and I must say, it really had shown that we've 'grown' as a people in mindset. My husband and I laughed at the books' words...I should find them and post about it. One book was about a dog that was in the Circus, and overnight he went from being a really big dog that people came to see (like Clifford), to a normal size dog, and he was ostracized and kicked out of the circus. My husband and I would laugh - so much for unconditional love, right? hahaha. But it does show a piece of our history; a dot on our human timeline; just like this situation we're all in now. I'm sure it will be well documented, I hope you're documenting your family's lives during this time - this is surely to go down in our History.
I wish you all health, safety and happiness.
A wise woman once told me, "you need to adapt in times of change to survive".
This wise woman I'm referring to is Theresa, the owner of Jeremiah's Catering in Lake Hiawatha, NJ. She called me during the Covid crisis with a business idea; she was expanding her catering business to offer baked goods and needed some photos of said baked goods she'll be offering to her clients.
So, taking her suggestion on adapting, I said yes please, absolutely. I started photography way back in 1985, I started working for a local photographer, we took photos of the local sports teams, school teams, rec teams, etc. I, like many photographers with a passion for it, photographed just about everything as a hobby; boats were a favorite subject of mine, as I lived in New England and have a deep love of tall ships. (I swear I was either a sailor or a pirate in a past life). I have taken photos of food as well over the years, so I felt like I could jump right back into it.
Food photography is a bit different from newborn photography however, some of these loaves of bread are about as big as a baby. The breads hold their pose a little better, too. I miss having babies in the studio, however, for now, I get to take photos of food...delicious food and I get to keep the food after the photoshoots, too. So, during this time, while everyone is home and many looking for comfort food, I'm being surrounded by all of this comfort food. My family has been swarming me, asking when can they finally dig into the bagels and breads? Oh how I wish calories didn't count during quarantining!
I am very grateful to have this opportunity for many reasons; to keep me busy; to help sustain my studio, keep my skills sharp, having a creative outlet is great for my 'self' and did I mention the food??
I hope to have babies and mamas back into the studio very soon, however, in the meantime if you need me, I'll be the one with the camera in my hand and a bakery roll hanging out of my mouth.
Stay healthy, safe and sane, everyone!
re you a parent with a brand new baby? Congratulations to you! What a beautiful time in your life amidst this global crisis going on outside of your home. With all non essential businesses closed, it's impossible to get to see your photographer for those cute little baby photos that we all love and desire. I've been offering my clients a later session of course, along with instructions over skype or zoom so they could get some photos themselves at home while they're waiting to get to the studio.
If you have facebook, you can connect through my website, but my fb is: MillieDee Photography and my Instagram: millie_dee_photo; I've recently posted a short video on each of these platforms that demonstrate how and where to best set up in a home for some baby photos, along with some very basic swaddling. I did this mostly out of safety concerns. I wanted to make sure my clients understand that they can safely and confidently get a few newborn photos since those sleep baby poses are mostly done within the first two weeks of life.
I basically explain that if possible, find a room with some natural light, a room where the natural light comes in from the side onto a bed is ideal.
Using a bed is best, I suggest staying off the floor for this. I use a few layers of blankets, the top blanket or sheet being used as your 'background', which could be anything as long as its soft, comfortable; plain and simple is best. The underlayers of blankets I roll inward to create a circle or almost a donut and place the baby in the middle of that. I place the baby on their back in the middle of the circle I've made and swaddle them, fuss with the swaddle so the edges look tucked in, and take a few pictures, take a full body photo, a few close ups, the hands, the lips, that cute little nose, you can take a side shot for a profile.
I also mention take photos 'of scale'. Which is when you take something of normal size, like your hand or your partner's hand and place it next to the baby; you can take the baby's hand in your fingers, or place your partner's hands around the baby, or like in the photo above, do a fist bump photo.
Experiment with a few different swaddles; blankets that perhaps a family member or friend have made are great to incorporate into the photos along with putting a hat or bow on the baby's head for a little variety as well.
You can take the photos with your cell phone for sure, just keep in mind the zoom; the less zoom the better in regards to pixels and blur; also lighting, clarity and blur/sharpness of your photos; the clearer and sharper your image is, the better it will look as you share it on social media. In speaking with a professional printing company, they did say there are a lot of variables to printing cell phone photos, but it can be done if the photo has what I'd mentioned, good lighting, clarity sharpness and no or just small amount of zoom.
Safety is always my number one concern when taking photos, if a baby is not into being posed that day, wait it out, wait a day or two and try again. Have fun with taking photos, new parents! You can safely and confidently get some photos of your baby. Enjoy! xo Denise
I’ve been out of the corporate workforce for 12 years, since I had my first child; deciding to instead of returning to corporate, open a small photography business. Having a small business and being a full time mom is a juggle and a struggle - what I have realized about having both a career and a family is this—It’s not so much about work/life balance, it’s more about work/life integration. If we’re expected to make sure the human race lives on by making and adopting little humans, women, who make up 47% of the workforce really need services that help on a number of levels. I recently read an article in Fast Company Magazine on one of the Top 20 innovative companies of 2020, Maven Clinic; from the article: “Maven connects workers with medical specialists via video chat or messaging for a fraction of the cost of an in-person visit. It was founded on the idea that access to better care before, during, and after pregnancies benefits employers as much as patients (by requiring fewer sick days and, ultimately, keeping parents in jobs)." With women making up nearly half of the workforce and slightly outnumbering men in college grads, Let's keep these women empowered; let's realize the strengths these women with families have instead of pointing out flaws, let's raise each other up instead of cutting each other up. I look forward to reading about more companies like Maven Clinic that understand the modern needs of working women that are raising families; lets see how we can empower these current women leaders to raise our future leaders.
I offered this in January this year and it had a good response. The families I've met are wonderful. There's something to be said for meeting the mama before she has the baby. I took a couple of maternity classes this summer with the amazing and talented Ana Brandt, world renowned newborn and maternity photographer. I felt like I was falling flat with my maternity sessions and she helped me find new inspiration and some beautiful new dresses as well.
Do you know, if you have a maternity session with me, I offer dresses for you to wear at no extra cost. Maternity sessions are usually $175 on their own and the newborn sessions start at $275, so together they're $450. My deal until September 16th is my mid-sized package which is the $375 package and includes 20 digitals. So what a deal!
The complementary maternity session includes 10 maternity digitals, All this, plus the use of my gowns for FREE with the purchase of a newborn session for $375. WOW!
Happy September. What a great summer it's been here at Millie Dee Photography. I photographed a record number of newborns and visited a few new beaches with my family including Asbury Park, which is actually new to them, not me; we also visited Outer Banks for the first time ever. We stayed in a town called Duck, and yes, it was beautiful, the sunsets were breathtaking and we of course at the donuts, too.
That was the last week of summer. We came back and it was a rush to do back to school shopping then of course school started and this week is my kids' first full week of school.
With having a few hours back during the days now, I've started planning our mini photosession for the fall and holiday season for this year.
I've obtained a permit to Waterloo Village and am so excited to be photographing in that beautiful space, I haven't been there to work in 7 years and it is absolutely beautiful, so i'm happy to be offering this area to my clients. I'm also planning a day at the State Park in Hopatcong, NJ. Its on the water, the lake and fall foliage make a beautiful backdrop for portraits.
If anyone is interested in booking, the Dates are October 5 & 19th so far. You can email me for availability: 973.668.9861 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beinga small business owner, wife, mom, PTA member, kids in scouts, and multiple sports, my life is gratefully very full with loads of wonderful activities, however, when do I find time for other things that need to get done? Laundry? dr. appointments? Exercise??
Exercise has been a huge outlet for me over the past several years; I was always active; did some runs and mini triathlons some decades ago, but after kids, its even more challenging to find the time. I heard something once that stuck with me as soon as I heard it. "You'll never FIND time, you need to CHISEL the time out of your day". Yes, that's what I've done... I CHISEL it out...and sometimes, the chiseling hurts other areas, temporarily usually, however, it's a necessary 'evil'.
Yesterday, I 'chiseled' time out to get a mani/pedi with my daughter, who wanted special nails for her birthday. So we met another mom and daughter, her bestie, there and we all had our nails done. of course, I was a little late because I had to peel myself from editing. This is the first summer i'm realizing the benefits of summer camp. My kids were never in camp; I was able to stay home with them and we'd take off and do things with or without the hubby and depending on his work schedule. We'll go visit family down the shore, or wherever, plan fun excursions with their friends or cousins, or just have people over in the backyard pool.
More chiseling, I get my exercise done early in the morning; I took several years off from exercising, ended up gaining 30 pounds and also gained a crabby attitude and some weird body pains, too. I knew I had to start up again, and I have never regretted it; I know if I go a few days without exercising, the crabbiness comes back, so I try hard to stay consistent, however with the start of summer and owning a small and gratefully growing business, something had to give, so I took about 3 weeks off from exercise and it was a necessary evil, but I told myself I wouldn't go an entire month without. Thankfully I have friends that like to exercise too and one invited me to yoga on the beach on sundays and the other invited me to join her in a bootcamp class that is outside on the docks on lake Hopatcong, near @Alice's Restaurant and the Miss Lotta. If you're ever in the area, definitely take the class, or if you're not into exercise, take a trip on the Miss Lotta! Its a great time. Anyway, this month I did have to lean on my friends for help in putting a fire under my you know what to get back in the game. I'm so grateful for that. I told myself once I got back into shape and lost my weight, I was going to hold onto my health for dear life. Sometimes its a struggle to chisel out that time, but it helps keep my mind body and spirit balanced.
This is also the first year we didn't join our local beach, and good thing, since we live in Landing, which is the part of Roxbury that resides on Lake Hopatcong, and there is no swimming or fun activities except boating on the lake currently due to the "Algae bloom" issue. How sad.
Anyway, its around 2:30, I need to pick my son up from camp at 4:30 and I've been on the computer editing and catching up on emails for 3 1/2 hours now. So trying to get some balance and have a late lunch and a few minutes of downtime before the next wave of activity starts; which will include dinner and folding 4 loads of laundry that have been patiently waiting downstairs for me since last night.
Does anyone have some great ideas on how to keep your life in balance? I'd love to hear it! I think many of us could use some good ideas for that, right?
Millie Dee Photography, Roxbury, NJ, Morris County, NJ Flanders, NJ, Newborn Photography, Maternity Photography, Family Photography, Seasonal Photography, Holiday Photography, Baby Photography,
I am just trying to figure this all out...at 11:04pm while everyone else, even my extremely loyal dog that never leaves my side has gone off to bed...
So, I'm doing it again; pulling a Cher, or a Madonna, or Swift or a GaGa...Re-inventing myself; re-booting my business...i've been in photography since high school, yes, i keep showing my age here. After a few degrees and a few decades in the science field, I left the pharma world and became a Stay at Home mom, and because of the way of the world, it was difficult to find a job with a home/life/work/life balance, because everyday, the juggle is a struggle, let's be real.
I opened a photography studio, dove in i'd say like most SAHM's do with a business, get good enough so people will want to pay you and make a few bucks here and there until the juggle becomes too difficult and you have to drop something...yes, for me that was work...we found out when my son was around 2 that he had severe and multiple food allergies; by multiple, i mean 7 PAGES of allergies; everything from broccoli and tomatoes, to wheat, corn, soy, eggs, dairy, nuts, chlorine, grass, the list was crazy! we learned the hard way that there's wheat in play-doh! (oh yes there is!)..., so i left the little job i had, that i was passionate about, and getting to make a few bucks with because my main jjob was the kiddos, we have 2 running around this house....years later, after the allergies had left his body...(that's an entire other story that ill be happy to share someday), I decided i needed something for me...so, i went back to work, as a photographer again...This time, I actually opened a studio and i didn't know WHAT would happen....luckily i still had clients and the were coming back and sending their friends and family members and word of mouth, a few ads and some hustling later, I am very busy...but not just with work; with home stuff, because what i realized is...i never gave anything up; im still the one taking care of the household and volunteering at school, taking the kids to sports, birthday parties, and all of their other activities plus in addition to....i'm now a business owner, trying to grow a business, and keep a balance; however, realizing just how hard it is. im 4 1/2 months into this and needing editing help....the taking photos is one thing; the culling, sifting, editing afterward is another ballgame; i it so much, but the time...its so time consuming
so i'm trying to figure out...what to give up....like, what if instead of hiring an editor, i hire a cook to cook meals for my family, or dog walker or house cleaner, gardener, etc...where my money be best spent? and where would my time be best spent? that's where i'm at right now, trying to figure it all out...so, for those of you out there that are familiar with 'burning the candle at both ends', how do you do it, besides getting no sleep? I already wake up at 4:30 am to take a morning exercise class, and hustle all day long...this is not good for my health,this lack of sleep and lack of eating correctly, what has worked for you? I'd love to know. i should add we don't have family to help; grandparents have matured out of the years of watching kids and our siblings all have families and multiple activities and jobs to juggle as well...and honestly, is it worth it? if i start paying for a cook and house cleaner, will all of my profits be going to them? so what's the sense? how do i make this work?? how did YOU make it work??
Where did the name Millie Dee come from? It's my 2 nicknames, my maiden name is Miller, so some friends call me Millie and some call me Dee instead of Denise, so I jammed them together and made Millie Dee...